InPursuit

Let Not Your Heart Be Hardened

Winters are excruciatingly tough for me. Maybe it’s the lack of sun shining warmly on my face–the lack of Vitamin D, the darker, longer, colder nights. Maybe it’s the difficulties of holidays within step-families–everything’s split, holidays are more like holi-half-days. Or possibly it’s the cycle of end-of-year-traumatic-difficult-times we’ve endured year-after-year. Oddly enough, tough times tend to hit us at the first signs of trees shedding their golden, burnt-orange bounty of leaves.

I covet the way they surrender their golden beauty without a fight. They go with the process and give in to the season at hand. They have no say how it will turn out, and yet their slumber doesn’t alarm us. We understand. Winter will pass, spring will come, and its branches will once again flourish.

And so I do what I know to do. I lean into God. I get up and get myself to the gym because I know working out increases my energy. I take my Vitamin D, and I pray.

Some days this will suffice. Other days… not so much. We’ve had some of those ‘other days’ recently.

Christmas is several weeks away and my husband was laid off, yet again–seven times in our ten-year marriage. Twice, this year alone.

I felt it the other day. That attitude that creeps up uninvited–a mixture of discontentment, anger, bitterness, contempt, fear, and frustration. I walked downstairs in the morning, made myself a cup of tea, each lumbering step cumbersome and burdensome beyond bear. And I sit staring at the monument of God’s faithfulness opposite me on the dining room wall. ‘Yep. Got it.’

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I open my Bible and read more words of God’s faithfulness and our putting our trust in Him. ‘Yep.’

And the truth is, I didn’t feel like I had much fight left in me. The exhaustion that still washed over me from a short night’s sleep didn’t help much, making it difficult to hold back what was really in my heart… a half-hearted ‘Uh-huh‘ with a smidge of attitude, and a pinch of disgust. Yeah, a perfect concoction of discontentment, an ideal breeding ground for rebellion.

Friend, can I share something with you about disappointments, trials, and testing? They always reveal the condition of your heart. Most times, what you find is far from pleasing to look at. However, they provide the perfect conditions for tilling the hardening soil of our hearts that the seeds of God’s word would take up deep roots within.

I love the words of the gracious rebuke found in Psalm 45, “Today, if you will hear His voice: “Do not harden your hearts, as in the rebellion, as in the day of trial in the wilderness, When your fathers tested Me; they tried Me, though they saw My work. For forty years I was grieved with that generation, And said, ‘It is a people who go astray in their hearts, and they do not know My ways.’”

Trials have a way of causing us to run away in anger, frustration, contempt, and bitterness. Our hearts are hardened, and in rebellion, we allow the testing to turn our hearts away from God–we go astray in our hearts. Time and time again we’ve seen the miraculous provision and grace of God upon our lives and still we choose unbelief, doubt, worry, and fear. We don’t know God’s ways, and so we imagine He’ll behave in ways that contradict His very character.

There’s a rest that’s available for us. There’s a rest that comes when we reject the lies of the enemy and in obedience trust in the Lord with all our heart. There’s a rest that comes when we lead our heart towards truth. When we hear His voice and choose NOT to harden our hearts.

Rather, we sit before the Father in honesty. We acknowledge our sinful discontentment, bitterness, anger, disgust, and you-fill-in-the-blank. We repent. We ask Him to teach us His ways, to make Himself strong in our weakness, to give us the measure of faith we need for this season, to unite our hearts to fear His name.

Then, well, we simply learn to ‘be still and know that He is God’.

So, today… if you hear His voice, my friend, let not your heart be hardened. God is faithful. He is true. He is a shield for those who trust in Him. He is gracious and merciful, loving and kind. He is gentle and compassionate. His word goes out and it never returns void. He created you to walk out good works He predestined for you long before you came to be. He absolutely loves you, cares about you, and has nothing but goodwill towards you. He sent Jesus to free you from the sin that so easily entangles you. He lived a perfect life and died a cruel death, resurrected on the third day, ascended into heaven, and will one day return for those who haven’t hardened their hearts, those who’ve placed their faith in Him.

If rebellion is going to rise up, let it be against the lies of the enemy. Let if be against the discontentment, pain, and disillusionment. Let it be against the anxiety, fear, and doubt.

Let not your heart be hardened against the One who is good and faithful over your life.

Turn your pain into praise.

Turn your worry into worship.

Turn your sullenness into a new song.

When you do, your fight becomes a vessel of hope and courage for others to do the same. And somehow, you walk away encouraged, emboldened, and filled with joy!

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© 2016 Darlene Collazo | {In Pursuit} My Quest

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